Feb 27, 2024 - Economy

It's been more than 30 years since food ate up this much of Americans' income

🍞 Share of disposable income spent on food
Note: USDA defines disposable income as the amount of money U.S. consumers have left to spend or save after paying taxes; Data: USDA; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans are spending more than 11% of their disposable income on food, per federal data — the highest level in more than three decades, matching 1991, the Wall Street Journal reports. Groceries and restaurants are both getting more expensive.

Why it matters: This measure could help explain why Americans feel badly about the economy, despite promising signs for the nation as a whole.

Zoom in: Prices ticked up again in January, even with overall inflation cooling.

  • Food producers are facing higher costs for some products, which they're passing along to consumers, and the tight labor market is also keeping labor costs high.

Good news: The closely watched price of Grade A eggs is down sharply from last year's stratosphere — $2.51 in December vs. $4.82 in January 2023.

Go deeper: A $126 grocery tab that explains the vibes paradox

Go deeper